Wednesday 15 June 2011

15.06. Hip replacement

Hello, I have been mentioning lately my upcoming hip operation, and that I would write a bit about it in a post this week so I guess I just got to get on with it :-) I am so busy preparing for my operation though; the last 2 days I have, with the help from my son, turned my house upside down. Most of my sofa is now upstairs in my bedroom, apart from the corner section which doesn’t go up the stairs because it is too big. My coffee table and the living room chair is also upstairs, whilst my king size bed and night stand is downstairs in my living room! As I said; my house is turned upside down, all in preparation for me coming home after the operation. Because I live in a Victorian house with extremely steep stairs, climbing those stairs every evening and getting down again every morning, plus going down and up if I needed the toilet during the night to get to my downstairs bathroom is just out of the question. I therefore decided to move my bed downstairs. When I had my first hip operation in 2007 I thought I would be able to manage the stairs by the time I got home from the hospital, but it was such a frightening ordeal that this time I am making it very simple by not needing to go upstairs at all.

This will be my third hip operation and the 7th operation in total since 2002. All in all, counting all operations I have had including having my tonsils taken out at the age of 7, the operation next Tuesday will be my 10th operation, so I suppose that could be cause for some sort of celebration….ehhm, not really! I have however, 3 more operations already planned after this one, one of which is to have a hip replacement on the other hip. That will probably not be until next spring, as they recon it takes about a year to recover from each hip replacement operation when you have considerable co-morbid conditions as I have. So, one operation at the time, I guess, and I’ll see how I recover from this one before I will make a decision about the other hip.

I thought you might be interested in seeing what a hip replacement actually is, so I have had a good look around on the Internet the last few days to find suitable videos. The first video is an NHS animation that explains why people might need a hip replacement and it briefly explains how the procedure is done. Not a drop of blood in sight, so don’t worry if you are squeamish! 

The next video is also an animation and explains the actual hip replacement operation in more detail – but with the help of drawings so no flesh or blood here either.

Now to the actual thing. If you would like to see how it is done for real you can in the following 4 videos. Here are everything presented, in real-time, with only minor pieces cut. I think they could probably have cut a lot more on these videos, there are a few yawn moments here and there when the surgeon spends forever cutting his way through tissue and taking great care not to cut into muscles….but I suppose that’s also what’s good about these videos; they actually show you how it’s done. The videos show ‘Minimally invasive total hip replacement’, and that’s why the incision is so small and the area the surgeon has available is so tiny – so that no major muscles are cut during the operation and the recovery therefore is quicker.
Here is the first part:

If you thought the first part was interesting, here is the second part:

And the third part?

Ready for the finale?

I must admit I find this fascinating, but I am not squeamish at all when it comes to blood and gore. I used to be a dental hygienist back when I was still working; I think that cured me of all types of squeamishness for the rest of my life! If you don’t instantly see the link, try imagining sitting 20cm or 8 inches from the face of someone who hasn’t brushed their teeth for weeks, or months, or perhaps not much at all for years. Hmmm….see what I mean about being cured of squeamishness… although I must admit that certain things you never get used to, and some patients I would deliberately give appointments to before lunch rather than straight after lunch, as it was somewhat easier to treat them if my stomach was empty….But I digress; back to hip replacements and the videos: now that you know everything about the operation I can tell you; that’s the easy bit. Easy for me I mean. I will be asleep and won’t have to do anything. The hard bit starts when I wake up after the operation, the rehabilitation starts straight away on the same day. But the really hard bit doesn’t start until I get home and need to manage on my own, here alone. I have done that before so I know what I am facing; 6-8 weeks where I am not allowed to bend forward or bend down, not more than 90 degrees between my upper body and my hips, which means I will not be allowed to pick up anything from the floor or put socks on for example. I will however be able to use my computer when I get home, so I will keep you updated on my progress :-)

I guess I won’t be writing much about gardening for a while now, and depending on how I feel I might be posting a lot or not much at all. I will have to wait and see when I get out; I won’t be taking my laptop with me to the hospital. Anyway, I hope to make one more post here before I leave on Monday morning, possibly on Saturday, but this is it for tonight, until next time; take care.

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